Early voting officially begins in South Carolina this week – less than a month after it became legal at the conclusion of a frenzied session of the S.C. General Assembly.
How does the process work, though? And more importantly … will it work?
We’ll find out on Tuesday morning as voters are allowed to start casting their ballots ahead of the June 14, 2022 partisan primary elections in the Palmetto State.
Early voting opens at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday (May 31, 2022).
Is the state ready? Or perhaps a better question … are its independent and notoriously unaccountable local election commissions ready?
Concerns have been expressed over whether all forty-six counties are ready to host early voting – which former director S.C. Election Commission (SCVotes.gov) director Marci Andino repeatedly warned lawmakers would take up to six months to get up and running.
What could possibly go wrong, right?
One potential problem with the inaugural early voting rollout? The Palmetto State’s two most populous counties – Greenville and Charleston – are only opening one location apiece for voters to cast their ballots. That’s two polling locations for a total of 675,802 registered voters. Same goes for Spartanburg, Lexington and York counties – which rank fifth, sixth and seventh (respectively) in terms of population.
Those three counties have a combined 617,2019 registered voters … and again, are only opening up one polling location per county.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess there will be some long lines in those counties … especially in Charleston, which is ground zero in the high-stakes battle for the Palmetto State’s first congressional district.
Meanwhile Hampton County – the state’s sixth-smallest county by population – has early voting open at three different locations, or one location for every 4,300 of its estimated 12,919 registered voters. And tiny Bamberg County – the state’s second-smallest county – is opening two locations for its 9,409 registered voters.
Does that make sense?
Other heavily populated counties – including Berkeley, Beaufort, Dorchester, Richland, Florence and Horry – are all opening multiple locations to handle the expected influx of early voters.
Why are Greenville, Charleston, Spartanburg, Lexington and York not doing the same?
For a list of early voting locations, check out this page hosted by SCVotes.gov.
Early voting for the June 14 primary elections is scheduled to run from Tuesday, May 31 through Friday, June 10 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EDT. Early voting will not take place on Saturday, June 4 or Sunday, June 5, however.
Voters will be asked to provide a photo identification when checking in to vote.
In South Carolina, if no candidate receives a majority of votes in a primary election, a runoff is held two weeks later between the top two vote-getters. For the June 28, 2022 primary runoff elections, early voting will run from Wednesday June 22 through Friday June 24 – also from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT.
So … is the Palmetto State ready for this? Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our always-engaging comments section below …
South Carolina's inaugural early voting will be ...
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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